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Thailand takes first steps on long road to inclusive mainstream education | Global deve... - 0 views

  • Cultural barriers continue to deny disabled children access to schools, but progress on inclusive education is finally gathering
  • The strict hierarchy of Thai society means the drive for inclusive education needs strong commitment from both politicians and school leaders. In the past decade, there has been significant political progress in moves to implement a system that ensures children with disabilities have access to mainstream schools. However, with cultural barriers and resistance from some headteachers, the journey towards fully inclusive education has only just begun.
  • Some headteachers Lennon spoke to were amenable to the concept of inclusive education, but didn't feel they had the resources or training to implement it effectively. Others, with decades of experience of working in special schools, felt this institutional model was more suitable.
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  • However, many headteachers in Vorapanya's study cited the Buddhist belief in the need for compassion as a reason they support inclusive education. Meanprasat private school in Bangkok, which combines western-style "child-centric" learning with a Buddhist ethos of moral ethics and regular meditation, is recognised as a national leader in integrated educational practices. In total, 130 of its 1,300 students are disabled. The school's philosophy is that children with disabilities "should have the chance to mix with society and be accepted by it". More than 5,000 teachers visit the school annually and attend workshops held to help spread good practice.
  • Nanthaporn (Nuey) Nanthamongkol, a six-year-old girl with Down's syndrome, was due to be sent to a distant boarding school before he intervened. "Without our work, Nuey would have been separated from her parents, sent to a school 80km away," says Lennon. "For kids with Down's syndrome, this is the worst possible thing you could do."
  • State schools, however, which have much less funding, have been described by Vorapanya as having "woefully insufficient resources" to implement inclusive education properly. Headteachers have complained that while schools can now access a minimum of 2,000 baht (approximately £41) funding for each disabled child, this is not enough to cover the required resources or training expenses. Another problem is that this funding can only be given if the child has been officially certified with a disability. Teachers have reported that some parents do not want this social stigma or are fearful that this certification will lead to discrimination.

    Despite the significant challenges, Lennon is optimistic. "We are making great strides," he says. "If we keep doing good, the results will surely follow."

Teachers Without Borders

Thai schools urged to boost speaking | Education | Guardian Weekly - 0 views

  • The Thai government has embarked on an ambitious nationwide programme to teach English at least once a week in all state schools as part of the new 2012 English Speaking Year project.

    The initiative is intended to ease Thailand's entry into the Asean community in 2015, when southeast Asia becomes one economic zone and a universal language is required for communication and business.

    The project will focus on speaking English rather than studying its grammar, with teachers provided training through media modules and partnerships with foreign institutions, including English-language schools, according to Thailand's education ministry.

  • While the ministry aims to incentivise teachers to create an "English corner" in classrooms containing English-language newspapers, books and CDs, the programme is in no way mandatory and will rely instead on a system of rewards. Those who embrace the project may receive a scholarship to travel abroad or be given extra credit at the end of term, Sasithara said.
  • Native speakers will have a role to play in the project, said Sasithara, who expects to start recruiting teachers from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the UK and US, as well as from countries where a high level of English is spoken, such as Singapore, the Philippines and India.
Teachers Without Borders

Bangkok Post : Apple approaches Education Ministry - 0 views

  • Computer giant Apple has expressed interest in making a deal to supply its tablet computers to the Education Ministry for use in Thai schools.
  • The minister said Apple and his ministry would form a working group to test how Apple products could serve the project. If the test proved positive, the ministry would be interested, despite the high prices. If not, the ministry would choose an Android operating system, Mr Woravat said.
  • The distribution of tablet computers to students was one of election campaign promises of the governing Pheu Thai Party.
Teachers Without Borders

43,000 Thai schools and hospitals pledge to uphold safety at national launch of United ... - 0 views

  • Bangkok – The Thai Government today launched the “One Million Safe Schools and Hospitals” initiative in Bangkok, with top government officials from the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministries of Education, Public Health and Interior and partner agencies promising to make safety a priority at 43,004 schools and hospitals.
  • n recent years, Thailand has been experiencing intense disasters with increasing frequency. A series of flash floods in October and November 2010 – declared “one of the worst natural calamities” to hit the country – killed more than a hundred people, displaced thousands and affected six million in 38 provinces. Thousands of students were forced to evacuate their schools, with more than a thousand schools reportedly damaged.
  • “Our Government and partner agencies have pledged to spread awareness among 43,000 schools and hospitals to maintain or upgrade their safety standards.
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  • “Young people and their education are critical to a country's future. The Thai Government promises to make sure its schools can function, even in a disaster, which is a powerful statement about its commitment to human development and resilience.”
    Bangkok - The Thai Government today launched the "One Million Safe Schools and Hospitals" initiative in Bangkok, with top government officials from the Prime Minister's Office and the Ministries of Education, Public Health and Interior and partner agencies promising to make safety a priority at 43,004 schools and hospitals.
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